I wonder what it was like to watch this series every week in 1985. Was there a hopefulness that it might be a worthy successor to the 1960s classic? Were people satisfied with the first episode featuring Shatterday and A Little Piece and Quiet? They were both pretty strong, high-concept segments. Yeah, I’ll tune again next week.
Wordplay was another fun, high-concept outing. Chameleon didn’t have much of a story, but was enjoyable thanks to the performances and the NASA setting. The ending was a little underwhelming. Still, maybe they found a way to make a TZ for the 1980s. I’ll give it another chance next week, if I’m home.
After that, with a few notable exceptions, the new TZ produced too many maudlin soap opera segments and short one-joke outings with no depth or arc. Gone was the grit, irony and cosmic comeuppance of the original. A good twist seemed to have become as passe as plot in a literature or skill in art.
I have a feeling this episode might have been the last stop for a lot of viewers. After the insufferable James Coco, and then the tedious Bradbury monologues tonight, maybe turning over to catch the last half of Knight Rider seemed like a reasonable move.
Barney Martin (Jerry Seinfeld’s TV father), Garrett Morris (SNL), M. Emmett Walsh (everything), Morgan Freeman (everything else) and world’s greatest actor Dan Hedaya  are gathered for a poker game.
Hedaya always seems to win with a hand containing three sixes. They ID him as the devil. There is a showdown. The guys try to trick him, but he tricks them. They bust him but he is a real sport, creating sandwiches and beer for them. The end.
No, that’s really it.
I assume this was to be the meaty segment of the episode. It was the longest segment at 22 minutes. It contained a cast that in 1985 were probably all familiar faces. Just, nothing happens.
Walsh is clueless as his characters often are. Martin seems to be playing a mentally challenged man — wait, are they going to keep the money they win from him? He should be playing for cigarettes with Martini and Cheswick. Morris has a knack for putting the wrong inflection on just about every word he speaks. Freeman is mostly the voice — literally — of reason. Tragically, the great Dan Hedaya is very subdued here.
Strangely, I must admit the 22 minutes flew by faster than did the first much two shorter segments. It must have been the actors, because there was certainly nothing in the script to captivate me. It is not tense or suspenseful. Despite the comedic talent, it isn’t really even particularly played for laughs.
As Homer Simpson once said, “It’s just a bunch of stuff that happened.” Except not much happened.
I rate it a flush, and not in the good way.
-  Only a slight exaggeration — he is usually a hoot. How can there be no decent clips of him in Cheers on YouTube?